Monday, March 19, 2007


Part of my break or 'holiday' between terms allowed me to go to Spain. If you have never gone I strongly urge you to visit. Yes, what you might see on the travel channel is true; dinner is served no sooner than 8:00pm. Now, for many people in the U.S., Barcelona is best remembered for being the site of the 1992 Summer Olympics. However, well before this occasion, the city played an important role in Spain's history. Bacelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and is the capital of Catalonia. To be honest, I only knew of Catalonia through Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Mautrin naval series. So, to make the discovery that Barcelona is the regions capital was very exciting. If however, my dear reader you are still fuzzy where geographically Barcelona is I will save you the trouble of running for the Atlas. It is located on the Mediterranean coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, limited to the west by the Serra de Collserola ridge (which my plane flew over and I must admit it is massive looking down). Then again, maybe you do need the Atlas.

Barcelona is a major economic centre, with one of Spain's principal Mediterranean ports. On Thursday walking along with beach I could almost see in the distance the ships that launched the Spanish Empire (Columbus's Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria). On Saturday I immersed myself in the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí with his house, and several buildings being on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For the political junkie in me I had to see the houses of the Catalan autonomous government, known as the Generalitat de Catalunya, notably its executive branch, the Parliament and the Supreme Court of Catalonia.

If you do wish to travel to Barcelona I highly suggest taking the Barcelona Bus Turistic. It was through this mode of travel that I saw literally the entire city, stepping off into the Placa de Catalunya, the city's nerve center; Casa Batlio; the Casa Mila known as La Pedrera; Sagrada Familia; Park Guell; Miramar-Jardins Costa i Llobera; Colom-Museu Maritim; Port Vell; and the medieval quarter that keeps itself young, the Pla de Palau. A few pictures of what I saw and the man whom all Barcelona loves:

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